Author Archives: admin

Save yourself from becoming adrift

As the pace and frequency of change accelerates, doing what’s important in our role becomes increasingly challenging. Yet, it’s still likely we will be held to account.

And if we are found wanting, we are likely to face the spectre of ‘being set adrift’ in very uncertain times.

In the Western Australian State Government at the moment most people have been, or are being impacted, by offers of the VTSS (Voluntary targeted separation scheme initiative).

Anticipating and enacting such a change typically brings increased workload, on top of existing priorities. If your personal life had been taking a backseat before the work of the change started, the run towards the end of the financial year may be weighing pretty heavily on you now. At times of peak work demands there are a few tips we can offer to keep yourself as well and functional as possible. Continue reading

A sense of loss

Western Australians have been experiencing a long term sense of loss; loss of GST  dollars, loss of the mining boom and loss of employment stability. The release of the report into major projects by John Langoulant, former Under Treasurer, is said by the ABC to provide ‘a scathing assessment of the former Liberal-National government’s management of the state in leading WA to a string of large deficits and a debt bill north of $30 billion.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-20/langoulant-inquiry-into-wa-finances-slams-barnett-government/9465312

The report recommends re-building of the WA Public Sector.

As EAP and Management Assistance providers to the WA State Government we have been seeing and supporting individuals affected by this context.

The solutions individually and organisationally can be expressed deceptively simply, but conversations with senior WA Public Sector staff indicate they are incredibly difficult to put into practice.

The solutions to GET better that we recommend can be put as:

Get sleep – stop working unrealistic hours – the effect is serious – as seen in the West Australian newspaper today; a school principal  working chronically long hours has tragically passed away, literally at her desk.

Eat well – many of you may be hearing about the ‘Gut’ and the effect of our microboime on our mood. Once our gut is affected it can then dampen our mood in a self perpetuating cycle of poor physical and mental health.

Think clearly – this ‘think clearly’ solution is influenced heavily by our sleep and our diet.

These 3 GET solutions are interdependent. If your thinking is compromised by long exposure to stress and its effect of shrinking parts of your brain, and building up of brain detritus, you may need  assistance to think rationally and break this vicious cycle.

Coupled with this long term stress we also see many people carrying a sense of loss. Page 78 of the Langoulant report gives this context: ‘the notion that the public sector has a culture in which all officers are working for the betterment of the state [and putting into practice their AEDM training] appears to have diminished in recent years to the point that such a proposition, when put, is met by some with cynicism and others with mirth. It follows that the level of trust between government and the Public Sector needs to be rebuilt and the workforce’s skill levels need rebuilding.’

In EAP service provision we are seeing a plethora of clients for whom this loss of trust and skill is combined with of long hours, that over time impact and interfere with clear thinking. Further conflict, and bullying allegations are being levelled at change managers who are doing their best to implement fiscal requirements, but struggling themselves.

The sense of loss, loss of status, loss of control typically elicits a full range of debilitating loss emotions. In our consulting rooms we are skilled at assisting managers and staff to deal with these loss emotions and to smooth the waters to  rational, energetic thought again.

Contact us confidentially:

http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

 

Welcome to the new year!

Welcome to the new year! 2018 – the 2000’s appear to have come of age.

Globally uncertainty is still an issue but here in Western Australia there are ‘green shoots’ of an economic recovery. The WA State Government is continuing is endeavour to bring the State’s budget back  into the black and this means restructure in State Government agencies, enterprises and other State owned entities.

If you’re a manager in one of these organisations, and your role continues, you are likely to be faced with unprecedented challenges. Managers Assistance through its parent company Oars Across the Waters is here to help managers in troubled waters. We are only a phone call or email away.

We can assist you with:

  • Planning and managing difficult conversations
  • Career advice and job application support for you and your staff
  • Outplacement services
  • Re-building services
  • Assisting you, if as a change agent you are unfortunate enough, to later be accused of being a bully

Contact us anytime:

http://oarsacrossthewaters.com/index.php/confidential-contact/

or

http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Oars Across the Waters Pty Ltd

Been accused of being ‘abrasive’?

Been accused of being ‘abrasive’ or ‘needing to work on your people skills’?

Practitioners assisting managers in this field are increasingly encouraging senior executives and HR professionals to see this situation as one in which ‘functional’ and ‘dysfunctional’ use of our strengths has caused an issue and is highly resolvable.

Your drive and determination to achieve results may be deeply valued by your superiors, but deeply threatening to others around you. That is, your approach is highly functional in one work domain but highly dysfunctional in others. For our counsellors this is a commonly occurring human problem and very much a resolvable one.

To gain further tips in this area sign up to our regular mail outs: sign up to the right of this post.

Or contact us through our confidential contact page for more personalised assistance: http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Brain health for managers

The workplace in which we are visible to others for around 8 hours a day presents an ideal opportunity to increase brain health and reduce mental health costs to our community.

Research on brain health and the brain’s capacity to heal is increasing. One interesting aspect of this research though is that it is also indicating what poor brain health does to our functioning. The University of NSW Brain and Mind Institute research reports the earlier depression is addressed, the more chance of recovery. Their findings indicate depression causes an area of the brain to shrink and reduce learning capacity. This has significant implications for Australian employers when Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicates that one in five people in the population suffer mental health issues with the most common reported by the World Health Organisation being depression and anxiety.

It is in the interests of employers to keep the learning capacity of its staff healthy. Picking up on potential early indicators of distress is then highly desirable for commercial if not altruistic reasons.

If you would like further information on supporting brain health please make contact through your confidential contact page:

http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Adjustment to change – is adjustment enough?

In this age of disruption, there are still some things we think will stay the same; government and its institutions as an example. But we are seeing unprecedented change in the Western Australian State Government. There once were 41 heads of agencies, but as of 1 July  there are only 25, with the press reporting many related departures.

In times of change we all naturally talk with colleagues, family and friends. But for some people, and for many of us, unprecedented change brings fears that are hard to dispel. Staff and clients of these agencies may struggle with personal, financial security and professional career path concerns. We’re expecting that the press coverage concerning this unprecedented change  is likely to trigger many fears.

At times like these our counsellors provide adjustment to change counselling; helping clients, not just to cope, but to find new and helpful ways through troubled waters.

http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Vexed management situations: a blow up at work

Managers Assistance receives many calls like the one below:

We have a problem. We don’t know if you’ll be able to help but you were recommended to us. We have had a blow up at work. We sat the two people down to work it out, but it just got worse with one of the people now being on ‘stress leave’. We’re hoping you can provide some help or mediation. 

As the employee walked out she said she’s  ‘sick to death of all of us. No other manager has ever found fault with her and we are an uncaring bunch who don’t care a hoot about her and what she’s been going through!’ We know that her son is a bit off the rails and has been stealing from her.

Previously we’ve offered her EAP for herself and her son but she said he wouldn’t go to a counsellor. Continue reading

What is the ‘right’ thing?

Taking Accountable & Ethical Decision Making to the Next Level

Anyone who has worked in government for the past few years will have come across training for Accountable and Ethical Decision Making in some format; whether it is online, or our preferred method, face to face. Training about accountable and ethical decision making is becoming increasingly important for government agencies who are aiming to maintain high standards of integrity and protect their reputation as impartial, unbiased providers of services in the public interest.

But do your staff apply these accountability concepts to their everyday work practices, every time?

Are you comfortable that your staff are clear about what is the ‘right’ thing to do in every work situation? 

Continue reading

Not too busy in the new year

It’s the new year and you’re back at work from the festive season break. It may have been a slow start, but now you can see your priorities lining up. You have confidence that you’ll achieve them and you’re smiling and encouraging others.

It’s an unusual year though, with the election of Donald Trump, his likely global impact, and locally an election looming in Western Australia. You’re not sure what it will bring. Is it a time to be taking action or building resilience and resources?

If you’re about to take steps forward and then you find yourself hesitating, it may be useful to access our confidential contact page. We have a team available who can assist you with accountable and ethical decisions in the current climate:

http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/

Distressed staff – how can you help?

Many managers who want to assist distressed staff have the best of intentions but are not sure how much they should, or should not get involved. The delicate balance of empathy and needed outcomes can pull a manager’s priorities in competing directions.

Making the decision to assist and then how to have that assisting conversation, what boundaries to set and what offers to make, can cause a manager angst and affect their own productivity.

Here are some basics that may help:

  1. Managing your own emotions by being practiced and well balanced going into the conversation;
  2. Not making offers without seeking guidance about your obligations as an employer representative;
  3. Having the capacity to listen within your area of competence and then knowing how to refer to others including expert services who may be of assistance to your employee.

If it’s difficult to find a trusted colleague to rehearse your intended conversation, it’s possible to gain our support. Just go to our confidential contact form:

http://managersassistance.com.au/contact-form-7-id53-titlecontact-form-1contact/